Do you remember that job—the one that really made the difference in your career? For many, there was a learning curve that seemed to go on and on, and everyday presented new challenges and learning opportunities. You were positioned for success and there was recognizable career acceleration (and in some cases even an early pay increase).
Does your current position match that experience? While every employee hopes that the workplace honeymoon phase will last forever, it is often the case that a position or company eventually loses its luster. Are you starting to see stagnation in your tasks, advancement opportunities, professional growth and/or salary growth? If so, this might be a good time to begin to explore alternate options.
Hard Work and Chance
A good first step is to consider the events that led to landing that initial “dream job”. How did you get that job in the first place? Did you apply directly or through a connection, or did someone reach out to you? More importantly, can you, right now in this moment, go out and find a new position with the fun and growth of that first career advancing position you remember?
For most professionals the true differentiating job comes to them by a combination of hard work and chance. Hard work and diligence will always set the true performers apart from the rest, thus increasing the opportunities for new career advancements. Who doesn’t want a hard working star performer? In this sense, the job seeker carves his own path to success and new opportunities.
That being said, many high performers with successful careers will admit that some of the differentiating opportunities “just kind of happened”—with these career-changing moments presenting themselves in a seemingly unknowing fashion. For these high performing individuals, grasping the opportunity made all the difference.
What Can You Actively Do to Increase the Chance of Those Differentiating Moments Occurring?
This is where working with a good recruiter for the long term can really make a difference. The keyword here is “good”. Investing the initial time to meet with a recruiter for 30-40 minutes is critical for a number of reasons.
First of all, you as a candidate will immediately get a feel for how invested this recruiter will be in you. You will know if this is a relationship worth nurturing and developing. Clues here are how the recruiter is treating you. Do you feel like a number or is the recruiter really interested in getting to know you, your career and your aspirations? Is the recruiter thorough in trying to understand your individual mix of skills, results, personality and how your career has progressed? A good recruiter will spend time and effort learning what is important to you.
Second, and equally important, the recruiter will get to know you. Your resume never tells the full scale and scope of your results and responsibilities, nor of your “soft skills” like leadership, organizing capabilities, your ability to connect with other people, and what type of work environment you prefer. This is of high value to you as a candidate. A good recruiter will work hard to understand you because that is the only way to make a successful match between you and the open position a client has hired the recruiter to fill.
A good recruiter will strive to make a successful match for several reasons. Recruiting is only successful when the client and the candidate are happy with one another. If either party in the match is dissatisfied, it will be difficult to sustain the relationship moving forward. However, if the recruiter and the candidate take the initial time to get to know each other; the relationship can result in life-changing career changes.
The Advantages of Having a Recruiter Who Knows and Understands You
Good recruiters can tell you about the time they got their candidate not only an instant salary increase but also that career changing position that made a significant positive change in the their future. Good recruiters are able to make those matches because they take the time to understand the candidate. That deeper understanding allows them to think of that candidate when the right position open—whether it is within the first week of working together or months down the line.
In many cases recruiters and candidates can work together for years. The recruiter presents great new opportunities to the candidate, significantly increasing chances of being introduced to career differentiating job opportunities. These are often opportunities the candidate would never know existed because it was a confidential search, or wasn’t listed on any job boards. Working with a good recruiter that has taken the time to get to know you can increase your chance encounters significantly over the span of your career.
Will every opportunity presented to you by the recruiter result in an immediate dream job offer? Probably not. Though it can happen. Keeping a long term perspective is important here. Having a good recruiter that keeps their eyes and ears open for you and presents you with “hidden” opportunities that you are not aware of will increase your chances of landing that career changing position. I know several people, myself included, that had a career changing opportunity “come out of nowhere” because a good recruiter took the time to get to know their candidate and gave them a call when the right opportunity presented itself.
Remember that differentiating job that made a significant positive change in your career? It starts with that initial 30 minute meeting with a good recruiter.
Lars Meiner is a Finance & Accounting Recruiter at Addison Group, a nationwide provider of professional staffing and search services. Bringing the best to the best, Addison combines a national network and localized service for broad reach with a personal touch. Specialized practices deliver the right candidate at the right time in Administration & HR, Engineering, Finance & Accounting, Healthcare, and Information Technology. Addison has received Inavero’s Best of Staffing award for the past five years. Learn more at www.addisongroup.com.